15 September 2019

Employed barristers consultation

We are seeking to broaden the definition of employment for barristers working in-house for organisations that are not authorised law firms, in our new consultation.

This will give more flexibility for barristers and their employers, allowing them to work through agencies or other corporate vehicles.

The current "scope of practice" rules do not permit some of the more flexible working practices that are becoming commonplace. This includes temporary or locum work, and other arrangements where the employer's preference is to contract with an entity or agency for the provision of in-house services.

Barristers who wish to work in this way are currently required to seek a waiver from us.

For example, if an employed barrister wished to work for a non-authorised body (for example, a local authority, a large corporate body or a charity), it may not be possible for them always to be employed directly by that non-authorised body, as it is now common practice for such bodies to procure "in-house" services through agencies.

Barristers may also wish to provide consultancy services through companies wholly owned and directed by them (although the company itself would not be held out as providing legal services) with a contract for services in place between the company and the end user of legal services.

The plan is to change the definition of "employed barrister (non-authorised body)" so as remove unnecessary restrictions on the way in which employed barristers can practise.

This is the first step in a wider review of scope of practice restrictions.

If you believe you may be affected by the current arrangements, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Regulatory Policy Department via regulatorypolicy@barstandardsboard.org.uk before 15 December.